Column: ChampU BBQ Affords OU a Chance to Seize Momentum

On the heels of their first decommitment in the 2022 class, the ChampU BBQ gives Oklahoma an immediate chance to get back on track.
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COLUMN

Recruiting is about momentum.

Schools always strive to be seen as a program on the rise, no matter how long they’ve been at the top or near the top of college football.

During his time in Norman, Lincoln Riley has done a great job of framing a traditional power like Oklahoma as the new and cool program to recruits, building a sense of momentum throughout the recruiting cycle.

But on Monday, the Sooners suffered a hiccup.

Class of 2022 4-star wide receiver Jordan Hudson announced his decomittment from Oklahoma. And while the Sooners still have two exciting wide receiver prospects pledged to the class, it’s never a good look for players to be stepping away from the program.

Don’t expect that feeling to last long for the OU coaching staff, however.

This weekend the Sooners will have a major opportunity to wrestle all of the perceived lost momentum back with one singular event — the ChampU BBQ.

Oklahoma’s annual recruiting blowout will be even bigger and better this year, as the Sooners have taken advantage of the grand reopening of “normal” recruiting.

As recruits get to see campus and get to know the coaching staff off the field, the ChampU BBQ can lay the groundwork for a number of prospects that will last the rest of the recruiting cycle.

All eyes will be in Los Alamitos, CA, star Malachi Nelson, who is already tipped as the top quarterback in 2023. He will be in town ahead of his July 18 commitment date, and landing the top quarterback in the class will be an immediate jolt to OU’s recruiting, just as it was with Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams.

Running back commit Raleek Brown is expected to attend as well, alongside tight end target Kaden Helms who the Sooners are hoping to close.

A number of top defensive targets will be in as well.

Linebacker Ish Harris, defensive backs Austin Jordan and Myles Pollard, and elite defensive lineman Omari Abor are just a few of the defensive stars who have announced they will be making the trek to Norman this weekend.

Landing just one of them would continue to accelerate Oklahoma’s defense toward fielding an elite product year after year, but if Alex Grinch and his staff can land more, they’ll likely have this upcoming weekend to thank for their success.

The event has yielded great results in the past, but after taking a hiatus in 2020, this year’s ChampU BBQ projects to be the biggest one ever under Riley. And if it goes the way of BBQ’s past, Hudson’s decision will just be a blip on the radar for OU’s 2022 class.